Monday, December 22, 2008

Crockpot Coq Au Vin Appetizers

Crockpot Coq Au Vin - Boneless, skinless chicken meat braised in 
red wine and brandy, topped with bacon bits and parsley.

Over the weekend I had three potluck parties and I decided to sqeeze the dollar out and make a big-ol-batch of the French classic coq au vin, which is really a fancy way of saying "chicken stew".  Although even a few of my French friends declared it "one of the best" they've ever had, it didn't cook without snags.

One thing I learned from cooking boneless, skinless chicken chunks in a crockpot is that despite the low and slow cooking process,  the meat still has a tendancy of seriously drying out.  Since I removed a lot of the fat in this protein, there was nothing left to keep it moist after several hours in the cooker.

My solution?  I brined it.

Essentially, I gave the meat a salt bath, covered it in flour, sauteed it and set it aside until the last hour of cooking.  In the meantime, I continued with the crockpot method, but only braised the bones for the stew.  The result was a velvety smooth wine sauce and an equally smooth poultry.

No, it's not traditional Coq Au Vin.  But, then again, where the hell would you find rooster in Southern California?

Another problem I had was presentation.  A wine sauce often results in grayish, almost unappetizing color if served in casserole.  The bitchy boyfriend even told me quite frankly, "It tastes great, but looks like shit."

So, rather than just serving it in a big old ceramic bowl, I divvied up small pieces onto slices of baguettes toasted on one side, then topped it off with some of the sauce and homemade bacon bits.  And, voila!  French tapas!!

I love cooking with the crockpot and I love Coq au Vin.  But, you really do need to make some adjustments to pull this one off.

Some 5 Year Old Kid Has His Own Cooking Show ... On TV

According to, little 5 year old Julian Kreusser has his own cooking show on cable.  Mom's directing, Dad does the editing and his 1.5 year old sister, Eva, does the lighting.  Well, ok... all Eva does is turn the lights on and off.

This is all cute and cuddly but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to have a toddler near an open flame and razor sharp food processors.  On second thought, this kid is kind of annoying. (What? Just sayin' ... sheesh.)

Pro-Family Group Says Campbell's Soup Is Too Gay

The American Family Association ("AFA") wants Christian consumers to know that the Campbell Soup Company embraces the homosexual agenda.  (**I KNEW IT!!**)

It all started when Campbell Soup bought two 2-page ads in the December and January issues of gay magazine The Advocate wherein the company promoted their Swanson line of broth.  One of the ads features two lesbians, apparently married, along with "their" son.  (**HOW DARE THEY!!**) Whereas other ads feature chefs from New York City.  (**HEATHENS!!**)

According to AFA's spokesprude Randy Sharp:
"When you specifically target a homosexual magazine, then your company is basically endorsing these activities; you're endorsing the lifestyle.  And in one ad, which...clearly shows two lesbians who say they are married, who say they have a son together, ...the Campbell Soup Company is saying 'we approve of homosexual marriage.' There is no question whatsoever of what the intentions of the company are."
No word yet on whether or not the AFA has learned about Campbell's soon to be released soup, Cream of Sunyunguy.


Food Sips

  • Certificates at still only 80% ... again!! This time the coupon code is "HOLIDAY" .... Offer ends in 3 days.... (maybe).

  • Global warming has also hit the world's kitchens: "Hot chilies, once the preserve of aficionados with exotic tastes for cuisine from places such as India, Thailand or Mexico, are now a staple ingredient in everything from ready meals to cocktails."

  • Axis of Evil: The Cookbook - Just because President Bush says they might kill you it doesn't mean their cuisine will!!

  • In case you didn't know, "cook", "cup" and "cock" are all the same word in Japanese ("kokku"). Sounds to me like the set up of a bad Tokyo-based sitcom: "I asked the cook to put the cup on his lips and then . . . "

  • Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver met the parents of a seriously ill child on a plane, was moved by their story and decided to raise cash for a badly needed operation. Can he get any hotter?!

  • Taiwan is courting Michelin in order to hopefully get a red book for the island nation. However, Taiwanese reps aren't too sure they'll get any top 3 star ratings, "In France, dining is a process of enjoyment and socializing that takes three to four hours. But in Taiwan, we just want to get our stomaches full. This has given foreigners the impression that Taiwan food is delicious and inexpensive, but lacks sophistication."

  • A number of New York City chefs have opened up their kitchens to help teach amateurs top notch home cooking. According to Vincent Chirico, co-owner of Italian eatery Vai, "People are excited to learn directly from the chef and, as word gets out about these chef-taught classes, they've become a trendy thing to do. For us to be able to teach amateur cooks lets us extend ourselves creatively. And the students get an inside look into our world and how we work."

  • What does being a short order cook teach you other than sheer exhaustion? According to Chef Tim Inzano, "Organizational skills. You've got to cook a burger, a chicken breast and sunny-side-up eggs, all at the same time. You're always either chopping, cooking, flipping or prepping."

  • According to Matt Gross of the NY Times there appears to be decent food at airports... go figure! "Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport was exemplary, with not one but three Texas-style barbecue joints, all branches of off-campus stalwarts. Cousin’s Bar-B-Q was easily my favorite — the brisket had just the right balance of meat, fat and chewy, charred burnt bits — while Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, whose brisket was watery and ribs dry, made an intriguingly spiced hot link."

  • Need a recipe on the fly? The recently launched iFood Assistant downloadable application, powered by Kraft Foods, helps iPhone and iPod touch users find the perfect recipe or food idea for any occasion, create quick and easy shopping lists and find the nearest grocery store -- all at the tap of a finger. Now available for download at the iTunes App Store for $0.99.

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